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Friday, 17 February 2017

Amouroud Silk Route Fragrance Review





 I haven't read too much about the release of the latest fragrance from Amouroud; Silk Route, and I'm wondering why that is?  I attended the launch back in December, and I was a little captivated.

Silk Route is, like all Amouroud fragrances, based around Oud, but is not an in your face "oud" fragrance. It surprised me by being positively gourmand, and in my favourite way: creamy, without being too sugary.  It might have been the Christmas connection - Harrods in December might well be one of the most Christmassy places on earth.  (It's also hell, but that's by the by) - but this reminded me of eggnog.  A boozy (rum), creamy mass of spice (nutmeg) with a hint of dark, damp wood beneath, it's not the brand's easiest wear - smelling like a pudding isn't appealing to everyone -  but it's truly lovely regardless.  At least, to my nose it is, it reminds me of two of my favourite fragrances of all-time; Safran  Troublant, which I wore to my wedding, but with softer, less zingy spice, and a slightly more pudding-y aspect in the dry down; and of Amaranthine, with the slightly corrupt milkiness and creamy aspect, but it's a little more mainstream than Amaranthine.

It's a deft and cuddly fragrance, warming and comforting, like a bowl of your favourite hot dessert on a cold winter's night. Or beautiful pain d'epices straight from the oven.  Glorious. But not for everyone.



The Fine Print: PR sample

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Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Jusbox Perfumes: Use Abuse Review



 Sometimes a packaging concept is just so perfect that it hits all the right notes for a brand.  Italian music-lovers Andrea and Chiara Valdo created Jusbox and launched their initial four-fragrance range last summer, and it's just too beautifully done to go without comment.  From the gorgeous 78ml bottles to the stunningly detailed vinyl record-like lids, to the detailed boxes and packaging materials, every detail seems to just hit the right spot, and it's a joy to behold.



The four fragrances in the initial launch are each inspired by a different era of musical history, from  Micro Love, a cold and metallic incense inspired by the early 90's and the music of U2, to 14 Hour Dream, a spicy melange of ginger, saffron and vanilla which was inspired by the early 70's and a little remembered concert by Pink Floyd, to Beat Cafe, the smell of cigars and brandy inspired by Bob Dylan and the Beat Generation of the sixties.

But it is, of course, the 80's-tastic fragrance Use Abuse, inspired by the magnificent Freddie Mercury that I want to talk about, having grown up in that decade and all. Described by Jusbox as a tribute to all things in excess, and said things unconstrained by limits (whatever any of that actually means), Use Abuse is actually a huge white floral, containing "overdoses" of tuberose and jasmine sambac tempered by a wash of clean sandalwood in the base. Use Abuse - teetering on the edge of bad taste in all manner of ways, from the name, to the description and onwards - could have been a headache-inducing nightmare, in the style of Giorgio Beverly Hills and Poison and the like, but it lacks the throat-catching character of either, and also won't make your eyes water.

Starting with a clean yet fizzy waft of mandarin orange and bubblegum (from the tuberose), Use Abuse is both amusement-inducing, and retro, without being simply a nostalgic exercise.  On the skin it blooms with some rather plastick-y and synthetic white flowers when the jasmine arrives - and let us face it, there was very little natural about the 80s - but remains fizzy and fun throughout the wear, without ever really revealing anything particularly significant down in the depths of the dry-down. It's rather linear, but that first hook grabs you in and doesn't really let go whilst you're wearing.  Like a pop song you know is tacky and cheesy, but gets you onto the dancefloor every time anyway.

Altogether a lot cleaner and very much simpler than the actual fragrances we wore in the 80's, Use Abuse is isn't nearly as subversive, or even as deep as it'd like us to think it is (more Stock/Aitken/Waterman than Mercury et al) but it's none the worse for that. It's a good, fun wear, in what might just be the most perfect container of its type I've ever seen, and you can't really get more 80's than that.

£130 from Selfridges.


The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases


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Monday, 13 February 2017

Beaufort London Fathom V Fragrance Review


 I confess, I'm sat here at my keyboard with literally no idea of what I'm about to write, so if this "review" of Beaufort London Fathom V makes even less sense than usual, you'll know why.

First things first, since losing my sense of smell nearly three years ago, and being still deep in the recovery phase from parosmia (where everything I smell is distorted to a greater or lesser degree), I have to confess that I really miss the smells of nature, the good, the bad and the ugly.  I've cried twice in the last three years on smelling particular fragrances (once on smelling Sel Marin by James Heeley, which is about as photorealistic a treatise on the salty smell of the seashore I've ever encountered, and the other on smelling a saffron fragrance that made me realise my synaesthesia hadn't disappeared entirely), and this, the salty smell of a rockpool suffocating with slowly drying seaweed at dawn also makes me a little emotional in similar ways.

Beaufort London make extremely uncompromising fragrances which are always unexpected, and it must be admitted that this can make them very challenging to wear, but I've worn Fathom V a few times now, and I love it a great deal.  It's the greenest fragrance I've encountered; to the extent that MrLippie has exclaimed "that's VERY green!" when I've just sprayed it in a different room to him (he normally has three categories of smell: "sweet", "orangey", and "strawberry", which, bearing in mind I very rarely wear sweet OR fruity fragrances can make getting his opinion on things rather challenging when he's acting as my "auxiliary nose*"), and he's right.  It's so very green that they might have to invent another category of green entirely just for this single fragrance.

It is green like the aforementioned drying seaweed, but also green like the stems of freshly bashed flowerstalks when you walk past a florist on the high street, and green like the greenest kale smoothie you can imagine, and as a result, it's a bit like everything green in nature has blended itself into some huge (hopefully friendly) green monster and come up to smack you one in the face with a soft yet huge green fist in a, you know, good way.  It's also salty and woody, and, strangely, earthy, like the roots of a plant you've just dug up. Think of crushed sap and mud, on the edge of a wooden-handled metal spade you're using at the seaside and you won't be far wrong.

I grew up in an inland (river and canal) port-town and Beaufort London Fathom V inspires in me a longing for a home that doesn't exist any more, which in fact has never really existed anywhere except the inside of my head, and as a result it makes me long for places and times that would be impossible to get to any more, even if they were real. Can you be homesick for a place you've never been? Fathom V is the concentrated and distilled smell of the British coastline, natural and raw and blunt and untamed, and it's just plain sublime.

It's one of the most amazing smells I've ever encountered, I'm just not entirely sure it's actually a perfume.  In candle, or room scent form, I can imagine this is fantastic, and I'd welcome my house smelling this amazing way.  On my skin though, it makes me tearful for a time and a place that I've only ever imagined.  A frankly astonishing feat, especially when you remember I haven't smelled anything resembling "home" for years.

You can, and should, buy Beaufort London Fathom V here.

*All anosmics have a partner/ who acts as an external sense of smell, normally checking for the less pleasant aspects of life with a corrupted olfactory system.  BO, that random smell in the back of the fridge, burning toast etc

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases


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Thursday, 24 November 2016

Clinique Aromatics in Black Essentials Gift Set


Christmas isn't Christmas in the Lippie household without an Aromatics gift set of some sort, and so, after discovering that I have enough of the original Aromatics Elixir to last me approximately 400 lifetimes (so around 4 bottles then, including various special editions), this year, I went for an Aromatics in Black box.  Released in 2015 as a "Noir" version of the original, Aromatics in Black boasts plum and grapefruit in the top notes alongside more vetiver in the base.

My nose and I didn't really get along with Aromatics in Black when it was first released (I suspect it was the grapefruit) as it caused parosmic reactions, but I'm enjoying rediscovering it now.    It's about as "noir" as playdo frankly, but that doesn't mean it's uninteresting.  The addition of plum and grapefruit gives it a more "oriental" feel, without it really turning into a bog-standard "fruitchouli", but it is very different, both sweeter and lighter than the original Aromatics Elixir, which I love simply because it doesn't smell like anything else on earth - and it was my signature scent for nearly 20 years, and if that doesn't tell you how much I love AE, then nothing will - whist still retaining something, albeit a soapier "something" of the fragrance it's based on.  As flankers go, it's a good one.  It'll never replace the original AE, but it'll do for the days when real AE is simply too much effort.

It's a little odd that they've made a "noir" version of something that's already the "noir-iest" fragrance on earth, if you ask me, but there you go.  The very best thing about Clinique gift sets is the price, you get the 50ml fragrance, the body wash and lotion and gift box for the exact same price of the 50nl fragrance alone, which in this case is £56.  Not at all bad.

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases


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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette and Nuit Blanche editions

YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette and Nuit Blanche editions Get Lippie 20161120
l-r Eau de Parfum (black glitter), Eau de Toilette (copper glitter), Nuit Blanche (white glitter)
Recovering from a disabled sense of smell, particularly a sense of smell that has been distorted, can be a tricky business. And, as a writer with a particular interest in fragrance, it makes life even more complicated, because sometimes I find I either can't smell a particular ingredient in a fragrance at all, or another ingredient will set off a parosmic reaction, and then I can't smell anything else in the fragrance whatsoever.  So writing perfume reviews is trickier for me than it ever was these days,  as I can't always be sure that what I register as a smell is literally what I'm sniffing, or  if it's just something that my smell-damaged brain is registering as a smell, in order to fill in some scented gaps.  Stay with me, it'll make sense in a minute why I'm mentioning this in a minute, I promise.

YSL Black Opium in particular is tricky for me, because the central ingredient in the fragrance - of whatever edition - is coffee.  And it just so happens that one of my most troublesome smells is coffee.  Back in the heady days before dysosmia struck, I loved the smell of coffee (I could take or leave drinking it though), its rich darkness and instantly recognisable savour was a delight.  During the worst of my parosmic days though, just the smell of someone putting a cup of coffee on their desk would cause me a whole world of distorted horror, and I'd occasionally have to excuse myself to go puke in the loos before I could continue working.  My reactions to coffee smells these days are much less dramatic however, and I can actually drink the occasional cup of coffee now, but I've discovered that I no longer register the smell of it.

All of which is a very long way of explaining that I can't smell the YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum edition at all.  On paper, the fragrance might as well not exist, and on skin I just get a faint hit of celery, so if you want a "proper" review of the Eau de Parfum edition, this probably isn't the blog post for you. Sorry.  However, I can smell the freshness inherent in the Eau de Toilette edition of Black Opium quite well, and it's rather lovely, but I lack the ability to smell the whole thing with the coffeeness added in.  There's a fair bit of citrus up top, with some jasmine and musks and just a hint of orange blossom, which makes this a very easy wear, if not the most complicated fragrance you've ever tried.

Black Opium Nuit Blanche, however, I find the most interesting of the three, opening as it does with creamy almond, almost marzipan-like top notes, making this more of a frothy cappuccino than the "espresso" of the original.  There's some orange blossom there too, lending a silky greeness to the crreamy nuts, and there's a milky-caramel accord too.  Altogether, this is far more gourmand than the other two, and it's probably the only one of the range that I'd consider wearing on a regular basis. Despite the lack of coffee, I like it, and I LOVE the bottles of the whole range.

I do just wonder what they smell like to other people?  It's a lonely life having a nose with brain-damage, you know.

The Fine Print: PR samples

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Monday, 21 November 2016

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady Shower Cream and Body Oil


Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady Shower Cream and Body Oil Get Lippie 20161120

Confession time: I only own one bottle of Frederic Malle fragrance, and I've never reviewed it.  As perfume writers go, I'm a terribly untimely one, I know.  I shall review my (tiny) bottle of Bigarade Concentree one day, but in the mean time I'm having far too much fun reviewing the more peripheral products of the range, some of which are so lovely, they have made me gasp. Like these, the Shower Cream and Hair and Body Oil from the Portrait of a Lady line.

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle's Portrait of a Lady is not a fragrance I've overlooked in the past so much, as simply thought wasn't for me.  Too sophisticated, too dark, too ... well, ladylike.  Lipstick Rose, the bright and bubblegum-pink confection of rose and violet (smelling of nothing so much as a waxy lipstick from the fifties, or your grandmother's bowl of dusting powder on her dressing table) has always been, for me, the defining rose fragrance of the Frederic Malle range, and I've been caught huffing it in a slightly demented fashion by more than one Frederic Malle stockist in several countries.  Why I've just never bought a bottle is beyond me, but I think I just love winding shop assistants up.  

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady Hair and Body Oil Get Lippie 20161120
 
ANYWAY, someone mentioned that there was a hair and body oil in the Portrait of a Lady range, and I thought that was a marvellous idea. PoaL is an oddity in that is a huge, dark and deep fragrance - a red and black rendering of rose, writ large in smoke and fire - but one that also remains remarkably close to the body, lacking the wide sillage you'd expect from the ingredients list.  I thought an oil would be an excellent way to experience the fragrance again.  I was surprised by the starkness of the bottle when it arrived, but as the Frederic Malle line is all about the contents, not the packaging of the fragrances, then I guess I shouldn't really have been.  

The oil itself  is light in texture yet deeply, headily, fragranced, delivering a story of darkest burgundy rose, set amongst a bouquet that also includes cinnamon, frankincense and deep resonant - yet surprisingly clean - patchouli.  It's a scent that's at once velvety, smokey and (I find) somewhat leathery, a supple Spanish glove-leather, which is unlined, so you can experience both the sensual suede and smooth leather against your skin.  It's beautiful.  And yet, not as ladylike as I remember, I find myself wondering what it would smell like on my husband.  I'll probably never know, as one look at the name, and he'll run a mile, which will be a shame for the both of us.

I applied some Portrait of a Lady Body and Hair Oil to my hands in lieu of handcream (it absorbs beautifully used so) in the office the other day, and the fragrance was commented on by everyone who came by my desk afterwards. It's not too fruity, not too floral, not too much anything, just Oriental-fragranced beauty from start to finish. It absorbs quickly, and leaves skin feeling deeply hydrated and beautifully moisturised, and of course, gorgeously scented.  I had been planning to use it as a layering product, expecting it not to be that scented on on its own merits, but it's so satisfying to wear alone, I don't think I'll be bothering with using fragrance over it now.  You can also apply it to the hair, I haven't tried that yet having just had a keratin treatment, and I'm awaiting washing that out, currently, but I can't deny that the idea of hair that smells of PoaL makes me swoon slightly.  It's great on dry shins too, but the price point means I won't be using it for that too often ...

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady Shower Cream Get Lippie 20161120

However, if you do want to layer your fragranced products, then there is also the hydrating Shower Cream, which is identically scented to the oil, and produces a rich and creamy lather in the shower without stripping the skin.  It's heady stuff though (as is the oil), and you need very little to scent your skin gently for the whole day.

Perfect for Christmas presents,  the Shower Cream retails at £40 for 200ml, and the (organic!) body and hair oil retails at £130.  A big investment, possibly, but what price beauty?  They're available from Selfridges, Les Senteurs, and Liberty.



The Fine Print: PR samples


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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Flowerbomb Dry Body Oil by Viktor and Rolf


Some of my favourite people wear Flowerbomb, but I will admit that up until recently, the appeal of the clean and sugary pink floral, which is incredibly aptly-named has passed me by somewhat.  Never really having been a fan of sweet fragrances, Flowerbomb, one the most successful fragrance franchises in the UK wasn't really designed to appeal to me, someone who has always preferred something with a little bitterness at its heart*.  I have always loved the gorgeous faceted grenade of a bottle though, it's both a fun illustration of the contents and a beautiful item in its own right.




Until now.   Viktor and Rolf recently (unexpectedly) sent me their Christmas offerings for Flowerbomb, and I rather unexpectedly fell in love with one of the flanker items, the Flowerbomb Dry Body Oil.  Not being of the dry-skinned persuasion, I've completely ignored the body lotion (which is actually lovely - but I use body lotion maybe once or twice a year, tops), but the oil really caught my eye, and my nose.  Being an oil, the scent is rather less diffusive (and effusive) than the original spray EDT, and is rather quieter, and more sophisticated to wear as a result.  The spray is fine, and gives a great misting effect, which disappears into the skin nicely. It leaves a nicely emollient layer behind which, whilst not greasy at all, makes a great layer for anchoring other fragrances, even Flowerbomb(!) onto.


Moisturising without being greasy, sweet without being too sugary, and floral without being too screechy, the Flowerbomb Dry Body Oil is rather a handy product.  At this time of year, my shins tend to get a bit scaly from the change in the weather, and this is stopping them getting too itchy, which is great.  And hey!  Who doesn't want beautifully scented shins?  If you're dry-skinned, it might not be moisturising enough to wear on its own, but it will make a great layering product for scents.  As it is rather gentler in fragrance than the original Flowerbomb, you can wear anything over it, and it'll just add a hint of floral sweetness to whatever you're wearing, whilst making it a little longer lasting.  It's great under citrus-based colognes to give them a little oomph, I've found.  Oh, and you can scent your hair with it, which is something I love doing.  Because it's an oil, it's (largely) alcohol-free, so won't dry out your locks if you love scented hair.

V&R didn't send me the press release, but I'm sure it'll be in-stores soon.  A Flowerbomb for people who don't really respond to Flowerbomb?  You could have knocked me over with a feather! Get some.


* Like me.  I know, I know.
 
The Fine Print: PR samples


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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Jo Malone London Launch Basil and Neroli Fragrance


I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch of Jo Malone London Basil and Neroli fragrance earlier this year,  and I'm very glad I did go, because this little bottle of sunshine hasn't left my handbag since.  I'm a huge fan of Lime, Basil and Mandarin, the brands "signature" fragrance and I was delighted when I discovered that Jo Malone London were back using basil in a key perfume launch. It's an interesting scent that doesn't pop up often, which is a shame.

I've spoken of my love of orange blossom before, and whilst Basil and Neroli lacks that hot, soapy, barbershop note that I love in other fragrances so much,  Basil and Neroli is a fine, fine, simple yet beautiful and classy fragrance.  Neroli is a greener scent than orange blossom, less overtly floral, and with overtones more of citrus and leaves than flowers, it is altogether less "sharp" than a regular citrus accord. When amped up with the leafy green basil - completely recognisable, though lacking some of "real life" basil's somewhat aniseed-y notes - Basil & Neroli is a great, light, unisex fragrance that's suitable for all occasions.



It's bright and zesty on first spray, citrus-fizzy without being too sharp or lemony, and light without being too insubstantial, or simply disappearing. It smells of sunshine and grass and happy memories, and has a genuine presence without being overwhelming overwhelming at all.  It's not sweet, and marries the savoury nature of basil really well to the citrussy neroli, then dries down to pleasant white laundry musks  on the skin.  It's in a light, cologne-style, but with hints of foodiness (I was wondering about an orange-basil salad dressing after encountering it, but the fragrance itself isn't foody at all), and would suit a crisp white shirt (on a wearer of any sex/gender, frankly), as well as a white t-short kind of an outfit.

It's a perfect example of the things that Jo Malone London do well, actually.  A very simple fragrance that still manages to give an air of sophistication, and smells really good without being too challenging on the nose.  It's a difficult trick to pull off, smelling both good and accessible, without being boring, or bringing up the dread word "inoffensive".  Yes, you won't scare the horses wearing this one, but you will love wearing it.  I do.

Available now, and costing from £42 for a 30ml bottle, it layers well with Blackberry and Bay, and Wood Salt and Sage from the same range.  It'll make someone a great Christmas present.

The Fine Print: PR samples


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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Philosophy Amazing Grace 20th Birthday Special Edition



The last time Amazing Grace appeared on this blog, I referred to it as an "anti-perfume", the smell of clean laundry, and described it as perfect for people who don't really like fragrance.  I stand by those things, but I also confess that I actually have a huge, sneaking, deep vat of love for it. 

"Clean" fragrances are a not-so-secret vice of mine, the urge to smell like laundry  musks and baby powder is a source of shame considering my role as a perfume blogger. I should live for skank, for the smell of musty underwear, of tropical mangroves filled with rotten fruit, of coughdrops, catpoo and honey, of death and foof, of leather and booze, of unshaven armpits, and grannies fighting over the last murray mint in a powdery handbag, that kind of thing.  Well, one thing I've noticed since I lost my sense of smell and it's "recovery" over the last couple of years is that the sense of smell I do have now has changed a lot. Where once Tom Ford Tuscan Leather was a "full-on smack in the face with a driving glove", it's now a fuzzy, fruity suede waistcoat made of raspberries and offcuts, more Top Gear than Top Gun.  The fragrance hasn't changed, but my nose definitely has.  The world of smell is an odd place for me to negotiate these days, but I'm hopeful that my love of skank, of armpits and catpoo will come back one day.

In the meantime, a return to my love of clean and rather unchallenging scents is to be celebrated, considering the alternatives, and so to my delight to find that Philosophy Amazing Grace is having its 20th birthday this year.  Can it really be that long since I bought my first bottle?  Amazingly (see what I did there?) it can.  Blimey. It's just been released in a special edition livery ready for its party, and the smell has hardly changed at all.  At once as familiar as your favourite item of clothing, and as inoffensive as a pretty girl at a beauty pageant, Amazing Grace has charm in a quiet and low-key fresh from the dryer kind of a way.  If it's the kind of thing you like, then you'll love it.

Happy birthday, Amazing Grace! 



The Fine Print: PR sample


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Monday, 15 August 2016

Amouroud Safran Rare Review




Oud.  It's a funny old ingredient, essentially it's the smell of infected tree sap, and yet it's one of the most prized (not to mention that it's currently hugely trendy) and expensive fragrance ingredients around.  When I heard that a new range of entirely oud-based fragrances was launching, I'll be honest, my heart sank a bit "another oud range?" I thought, how ... utterly predictable.  But I'll be honest, I was completely wrong, the Amouroud launch is definitely something to love, and, even though it's rather embarrassing, I shall tell you why.  

First, a little about the  brand.  Amouroud is the brainchild of the people behind Perfumers Workshop, whose previous masterpieces include the 80's hit "Tea Rose", which was, allegedly, the favourite fragrance of Princess Diana.  Not that well-known in the UK, Amouroud represents a concerted effort to bring Oud-centric fragrances out of their rather niche ... um ... niche,  and showcase the ingredient as a supporting player in a range of wonderfully crafted, beautifully longlasting fragrances that can be worn even if the idea of wearing rotting tree product leaves you a little cold.

To wit, there are six fragrances currently available from Amourod, all of which feature oud as a key player - if not always the star - of the scents.  They're all very different, and very lovely, but my heart decidedly belongs to Safran Rare, which I'll get to momentarily, but first, some sketches of the other fragrances in the range:

Miel Sauvage: a blend of honey, bergamot, jasmine, incense and sandalwood (and oud), Miel Sauvage begins bright and frisky from the sprightly bergamot,  then mellows slightly into a less animalic honey than expected, and slowly warms into a gorgeously narcotic blend of jasmine and sandalwood.  It's more floral and ladylike than expected from the name Savage (or Wild) Honey, and is unexpectedly easy to wear for an oud.

Santal des Indes: I couldn't smell this one very well at the launch, but it's absolutely beautiful to me now.  Woody and complex, it appears to open with an almost aniseedic whoosh, at once both slightly medicinal and slightly intoxicating, before settling into a woodsiness that smells at once green and brown, and just alive with leaves and grounded by earth covered in cedar wood chips.  Smelling it again now, for the first time since the launch, I could happily smell this one forever.  I can easily picture MrLippie wearing this, and me never letting him out of the house in it. It's astonishingly clean for an oud fragrance, and it's an amazing composition.  I'd buy a full bottle of this in a heartbeat.

Midnight Rose: Supposedly opening with lychee and pomelo, this is a rose both jammy and dark.  I don't get the fruit at the beginning, and fall straight into what initially appears to be a slightly sour rose.  When this dries down, the sour-bite of the fruit wears off, the rose blooms into a jammy loveliness, surrounded by amber and resin.  it's a big, and gloriously 80'sesque (in a good way!) wear.

Dark Orchid: As the name pre-supposes, this is another bold floral.  This time opening with a sweet citrus accord, Dark Orchid soon turns into something darker and deeper, and more intriguing. Beyond the citrus there is jasmine and gardenia alongside ylang ylang, which creates a creamy note which works well with the smoky patchouli and vanilla in the base.  It's a powerhouse fragrance, which has parallels to a certain other "dark" orchid fragrance which I shan't name, but it's a perfect one for night-time wear. 

Oud du Jour: Sadly, my sample of Oud du Jour has gone missing, and at the launch there was something in the formula that triggered my parosmia, so Oud du Jour is the "lost" fragrance in this collection to my nose.  The notes make it sound interesting though, and I look forward to trying it again one day, as my parosmic recovery continues.



And finally, as promised, Safran Rare:  as many of my regular readers know, I lost my sense of smell a few years ago, and my recovery from that anosmia has been both a long and an extremely difficult one at times.  Even now, more than two years later there are things that I can't smell, and still things that trigger my parosmia, but on a day to day basis, I'm almost entirely recovered, if maybe a little underpowered in the smelling department compared to life in the great "before".  But, that  day I lost my sense of smell, I also lost another "sense" that I'd come to rely on, one that assisted me greatly in writing about fragrance, and that was my synaesthesia.  On smelling things for the first time, back in the day, my mind would draw a picture of the fragrance for me, and that would usually be the first impression of the fragrance that I would draw any subsequent reviews from.  I'd get impressions of colours, of fabrics, of coloured fabrics, or of unexpected scent memories ("It smells like a hug from the seventies" is one of my favourites), but since the anosmia: nothing.  Even with the parosmia and the cacosmia: nothing.  My life has truly been less colourful since anosmia, in an almost literal kind of a way.

Until Safran Rare. At the launch, Safran Rare came to me in a blinding flash of yellow chamois leather, so vivid I could almost reach out and stroke it with my fingertips.  It was so an unexpected sensation that I began to cry, because I hadn't realised just how much had been missing from my life, was still missing from my life in spite of my recovery, and I realised just how much further I still had to go.  An odd mixture of happy ("It's back!), and sad ("I've missed it so much") tears, but genuine tears nonetheless.  I am, as many people are aware, a massive wanker, and crying in the Soho Hotel because a fragrance "smells yellow" just confirms it, really.  Luckily, the gentlemen behind Amouroud were very understanding, and I'm incredibly grateful for both their discretion, and their creation, because Safran Rare is a great perfume, as well as being a yellow one. 

It's funny that Safran Rare doesn't list leather in its ingredients list (which includes cedar, jasmine, olbanum, saffron, vetiver and benzoin), because Safran Rare is very definitely a sexy leather fragrance.  If not quite Raquel Welch's chamois leather bikini in One Million Years BC, that's definitely the ballpark we're playing in.  Ballsy and not very sweet, Safran Rare is beautiful, even though it's probably not Amouroud's easiest wear.  Sexy on a man, it's incredibly memorable on a woman.

So there you have it.  Amouroud have pulled off an incredibly neat trick, an oud for everyone whether you like big, in your face oud, or prefer cleaner, fresher, lighter fragrances, and its something to be applauded.  Something else to be applauded is their generosity, at counter (currently exclusive to Harrods), when you purchase, you'll be asked which is your second favourite fragrance, and alongside the fragrance you buy, you'll be given a generous size sample atomiser (one big enough for several weeks of daily wear) of your second choice to go alongside your full-size bottle.

And did I mention the price?  £145 for 100ml.  When standard mass-produced fragrances these days come in at around £70 for 50mls, that's practically giving it away.  Amouroud is currently exclusive to Harrods.
 


The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases


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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The best bath oil in the world? Olverum Bath Oil


One of the best things about being a beauty blogger is the fact that all kinds of things arrive in an unexpected fashion,  and occasionally those things turn out to be products you never realised you couldn't live without, and Olverum Bath Oil is one of those things. 

Random fact, I don't think I've actually taken a bath since Kneipp discontinued my favourite Juniper-scented bath salts, and Shu Uemura discontinued Hinoki bath oil,  and then I ran out of my beloved Elemis Aching Muscle Super Soak (which was certain used to be called something else, but on a quick google search, it seems I'm merely  misremembering), because yes, I am that fussy about my bathing products.  I'll happily shower in any old (cheap) crap, but baths are for lingering, for loitering, for indulging in*, and, it turns out, I do want a strong herbal element to my bath.  I have no idea why, except maybe it's linked to the fact that I grew up in the heyday of the "badedas bath", and ALL baths in the seventies smelled of pine as a result.

Olverum Bath Oil smells not only of pine (from Siberian Fir Needle oil), but also of eucalyptus, lavendin, lemon, rosemary, verbena, lavender, lime, juniper and geranium, and combined in a ground nut and sunflower oil base, those scents are amazing.  It's like being surrounded by the alpine forest of your dreams.  I spent some time near Lake Bled in Slovenia last year, and this bath oil smells how those forests looked.  It's beautiful.  Deep and distinctive, resinous from the woods, yet also sharp and bright from the citrus, and yes, it is ever-so-slightly medicinal. It simply smells like it would do you a world of good even before you pour it into a hot bath.  And actually, bearing in mind it contains eucalyptus, it'll probably help soothe a head cold too.

At around £25 for a 125ml bottle, there's no denying Olverum Bath Oil is an indulgent treat, but as it is highly concentrated, you need only 5ml to scent your bath, and your bottle should last 25 baths as a result.  £1 for a bath in the middle of a Alpine forest is a bargain, no? 

You can find Olverum Bath Oil at Liberty, House of Fraser and Roullier White. 

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases


* And, of course, reading in**
** and only occasionally, you know, washing in.

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Monday, 8 August 2016

Fornasetti L'Eclaireuse Candle

Fornasetti L'Eclaireuse Candle Get Lippie 20160807

Fornasetti is the most whimsical design brand around, and I can never resist it.  This is a surprise to me, as I'm not really a fan of whimsy. I generally prefer strong graphical design, bright colours and geometrics to more representational art (basically, give me art deco over almost anything else, and I'm a happy woman), but somehow, Fornasetti's sense of the surreal and absurd appeals to me in the most delightful way.  The RIP design which debuted in time for last Christmas actually made me laugh in delight (I like skulls, sue me) when I first laid eyes on it, and whilst this year's L'Eclaireuse hasn't quite made me giggle, it is definitely beautiful, and a lovely addition to my collection.

Fornasetti L'Eclaireuse Candle Get Lippie 20160807

Half Maharani, and half pirate; Fornasetti's muse Lina Cavalieri gazes out from the candle jar bedecked in either a golden eyepatch, or (my favourite) adorned in golden eastern-style jewels.  Jewellery, I can also get behind!


Fornasetti L'Eclaireuse Candle Get Lippie 20160807

Inside the jar is a new fragrance for this year; Mistero. This is a spicy blend of pink pepper, incense and cedarwood, which fizzes gently on the nose when sniffed from the jar, but I'm just waiting for the nights to draw in a bit so I can light it and see how the scent throws out in a room.  Fornasetti candles generally burn well and very cleanly, and the other scents I have in my collection throw well, scenting even my high-ceiling-ed rooms gently but decisively, so I can't wait to light this one.

Or, it turns out, not. 

Fornasetti L'Eclaireuse Candle Get Lippie 20160807
It's not a shrine.  It does need some plants though.

 I do have a small Fornasetti problem in that I can't bear to burn them at all simply because they are so damn beautiful! What a dilemma, I know ... They are gorgeous objects in their own right, not just as candles, and I should just get over myself and burn them so I can use them for other purposes but I just need to finish admiring them first.  Don't I?

The Fornasetti L'Eclaireuse candle will be available from September, and will cost £125.

The Fine Print: PR samples.


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Friday, 5 August 2016

Monotheme Verbena Eau de Toilette

Monotheme Verbena Eau de Toilette Get Lippie 20160731

The press release for Monotheme Verbena Eau de Toilette arrived last week, and I was literally kicking myself for not having paid any attention to them earlier.  Verbena sounded right up my street, promising green notes of verbena with white flowers surrounded by a base (its a perfume, it can totally be "surrounded by a base".  Honestly*) of vetiver, amber and musk sounded intriguing, and at a price point of only £18 for 100mls, what a bargain!

Monotheme is an Italian fragrance house, founded by Lorenzo Vidal, and it is sold exclusively in the UK by M&S.   From what I can gather from the names on the M&S website, the fragrances seem to either be soliflores or simply-themed smells based around a single accord.  Not such a bad thing really, especially at this kind of price point.

Verbena is normally a green and fresh lemony kind of a fragrance, and so Verbena by Monotheme also proves to be, but instead of being lemon-sharp and sparkling, Verbena has a green and mineral-flinty aspect to it, which is reminscent of mint and crushed green leaves, almost a green tea note.  It's simple, but it's very appealing, I've been wearing it non-stop since it arrived a couple of days ago, and I love it.  Projection is low, and sillage stays close to the wearer, but it's surprisingly intriguing for such a simple "fresh" scent, and it's proved popular with MrLippie too.  You'll need to reapply regularly as it has the lasting power you'd expect from a citrus, but that's not really such a hardship!

And how cute is that darned bottle?  Too darn cute, that's how cute.  I'll be investigating more from the range ASAP, colour me hugely surprised and happy to have discovered these! 


 * I think.

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases


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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Imperial Leather Foamburst Nourishing Shea Butter and Orange Blossom

Imperial Leather Foamburst Nourishing Shea Butter and Orange Blossom Get Lippie 20160731

My orange blossom obsession continues (it'll pass, don't worry.  Hopefully).  After a £35 shower gel yesterday, here's one for a tenth of the price.  I discovered the Imperial Leather Foamburst luxurious body wash back in June having discovered that I'd travelled to Cornwall without my usual toiletries bag, and so needed something to replace, but I didn't want to spend too much.  So, for £3 (give or take 20p or so), I picked one of these up, and was delightfully surprised at both the lather, and the scent!

 Naturally, I left it behind when we came back to London (d'oh!), and I'd not been able to find it in any Boots since - and it has been sold out online everywhere too! So, when I spotted it at Ocado this weekend, I stocked up. I've been a bit sniffy about the Foambursts in the past, not quite seeing the point, but they're actually really nice.  Basically resembling a shaving foam when squeezed from the can, it turns out you can, in fact, use them for shaving, but they do also give you a nice moisture-filled shower experience too.  And this particular scent is very nice indeed.  A  bit faint, all told, but rather nice - if you smelled it blind you wouldn't know it came from a product costing £3 at all!  Consider me a convert.

Oh, and they're on offer at Boots for £2 each at the moment, so snap a couple up.  You'll be glad you did.

 The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases


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Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Cologne Indelebile Body Wash and Milk

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Cologne Indelebile Body Wash and Milk Get Lippie 20160731


To my eternal shame, I do not own a bottle of Cologne Indelebile by Frederic Malle.  And I should, for it is a new classic fragrance in the cologne style (surprise!) of which I am a huge fan.  What sets Cologne Indelebile apart from other classic of the genre such as 4711 and Tom Ford's Neroli Portofino (and, I would argue, Mugler Cologne) is the innovative use of a new molecule which has finally made a long-lasting citrus note.  Typically, citrus molecules are incredibly volatile, which makes them inclined to "fly off" the skin very quickly (which is why they're used as top notes  regularly, they're usually the first notes in a fragrance to reach your olfactory nerve), but this means they don't last very long as a smell, simply because they essentially "evaporate" more quickly than note which is comprised of more stable molecules. Cologne Indelebile (literally: Permanent Cologne) is a citrus that lasts.  And lasts.  I need a bottle. 


In the meantime, however, I make do with the Cologne Indelebile body wash and body milk that arrived a little while ago, and it's keeping me happy enough until I can save up the pennies to splash out on the matching scent too.  Now, I'm not a huge user of body lotions generally (I'm mostly oily-skinned, and just don't need them, sorry!), but I do use them for layering scents quite regularly, and this lotion is brilliant for layering summery citrus scents over.  The shower gel lathers well, and it's perfect for waking you up on a somewhat sluggish morning.  Used together you'll smell clean and fresh all day.

All that said, what does Cologne Indelebile actually smell like? Well, up top it's a blend of neroli, orange blossom and bergamot, which manages to be both incredibly fresh and clean, and heady at the same time.  It's a slightly green take on citrus, rather than a simple lemony or orangey one, there's a leafy note below the juicy fruit, and it finishes with a set of clean laundry and skin musks. Projection is low, someone else would have to get very close to you to know you've showered in it, but it definitely lasts on the skin.

The Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Cologne Indelebile body wash and body milk are available from Liberty in the UK, and cost £35 and £60 respectively.


The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases


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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Jasper Conran Nude Woman

Jasper Conran Nude Woman Fragrance Bottle - Get Lippie 20160724

 Jasper Conran Nude Woman, the latest fragrance from the Jasper Conran range, is housed in a beautifully detailed bottle.  Hefty, but delicate, the carved column fills the hand nicely, and feels wonderfully tactile when you're spraying it.  It's supposed to evoke "contemporary femininity", and I think it delivers that nicely.

The juice inside the bottle is surprisingly enjoyable too.  A white floral that manages to be both crisp and soft, it's a very nice wear.  Starting with rather gentle notes of grapefruit and bergamot that add a hesperidic air without being too overpoweringly citrussy, the fragrance soon settles into white flower heaven, with notes of gardenia and magnolia mixed with orange blossom.  It's a little powdery at this stage, and without the slightly funky-mushroom edge you can get with a true magnolia note, but the addition of orris (iris) is probably the one that is responsible for rounding out any potential soapy-screechiness, and adding a little lady-like polish to the formula.  The basenotes are a very skin-like musk with some bleached white woods beneath.

It's not the most original fragrance I've ever come across, but it is very wearable, and I like it much much more than I expected to.  Currently available at both Debenhams and Boots for £20 for a 40ml bottle and £30 for 100ml, it's a prettily ladylike bargain.


 The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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Monday, 25 July 2016

Diptyque Eau de Sens





To say I'm a bit obsessed with orange blossom at the moment would be a mild understatement, so you might want to bear that in mind as you read this - basically, if it promises to smell of orange blossom, I'm bound to at least like it a lot.  And if it delivers, as Diptyque's Eau de Sens does (in spades), then it's a full-blown affair of the heart.

Right, on with the review "proper"* (allegedly).  Diptyque Eau de Sens is not quite a soliflore orange blossom, as the orange blossom here is backed up with notes of juniper berries (and some of you will know I'm a gin drinker, right?), patchouli and angelica.  According to the press release, it promises to deliver the full smell of an orange tree in blossom, right down to the roots.

There's a gloriously diaphanous waft of spicy orange on first spray, the juniper berries giving just a little not-quite-soapy zing to the citrussy concoction, before it settles to a woody-green aspect of orange blossom. This middle section is hugely reminiscent of petitgrain smelling, as it does, of both flowers and stems, with just a hint of something woodier beneath.  The dry-down is a light and rather clean patchouli - there's no dirt in this fragrance at all - and it's all perfectly simple and incredibly linear.  Eau de Sens is both uncomplicated and unsweet, but rather beautiful all the same.




The notes actually make it sound like it'll be a rather dark and hard to wear fragrance, but Eau de Sens is actually surprisingly light and sheer (you'll want multiple sprays, and regular ones, at that), and rather playful in wear.  It's an easy-going scent, perfectly attuned to wearing with jeans and a crisp white shirt, though I've worn it to all sorts of occasions since my bottle turned up, including to parliament, as it's so perfectly at home everywhere.  I've worn it so much that my bottle is now nearly empty - I can't remember the last time I emptied a perfume bottle so quickly!  A shame really, as this bottle has been engraved!

I want my entire house to smell of orange blossom now, I love this so much.  Diptyque Eau de Sens is on sale now, and a 50ml bottle will cost £60, and 100ml is £80.


 * To be honest, I've written so little this year, I've kind of lost the ability to think about anything in any kind of "proper" critical fashion, really.  Sorry.  Not sorry.  Turns out I like not blogging almost as much as I like blogging.  WOE!

The Fine Print: PR samples


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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Diptyque Rosaviola Candle and Solid Fragrance


Good grief I fell hard for Rosaviola!  I didn't intend to, it's pink, it's girly, and it's very, very, very sweet.  But I have, and what's done is done.  I went to the Diptyque store in St Germain (I think I may have mentioned that I've been in Paris recently?) fully intending to buy something super-exclusive and incredibly French (not to mention achingly chic), and I came back with ... pink.

Balls.


Rosaviola is, essentially, a blend of rose and violet, and it smells like lipstick.  There's not much more to it than that, to be honest, but it's so pretty, and so friendly and good-natured that I couldn't really help myself.  Violet fragrances speak to me these days in a pretty visceral way, that they never used to before my nose got brain damage, and so this is a lovely and easy to wear perfume for me.  The violet also tempers the rose to my nose - roses still occasionally smell dusty or burned - so it's a light and fresh, and yes, girly and friendly smell.




I hate myself.  But it's got lips on, so it's okay.  The lasting time can be measure in literally minutes, but I don't really care.  It's lovely.

I think I need help.  If anyone wants me, I'll be drowing myself in a bucket of Muscs Kubla Khan by Serge Lutens until this phase passes ...

The Fine Print: Purchases

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Friday, 12 February 2016

Fornasetti Profumi Incense Box - Flora


Think of incense and you think of smoke, and churches, and heavy cloying fragrances.  I happen to love a little incense, but rarely burn it at home, as it can lead to a bit of a muggy atmosphere.  Flora, the latest incense release from Fornasetti  is about as different from "traditional" incense as can be. 

Smelling delightfully of lily of the valley, tuberose, and jasmine, this really does smell like a country garden!  Surprisingly, it also smells like a country garden whilst it's burning.  Fornasetti have spent two years trying to best get a delicate, airy and light scent into the incense format. and their hard work appears to have paid off in spades.  They're pretty powerful too, one stick perfumes our entire flat for hours, without feeling heavy or oppressive.  

The Fornasetti Flora Incense box comes in three designs (the one shown is Flora di Bacio), and costs £145, but you can buy the incense alone for £45.  


The Fine Print: PR samples.


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Monday, 18 January 2016

Get Lippie at the Jasmine Awards!

Jasmine Awards Logo

 This time two years ago, I was over the moon because I'd been shortlisted for a Jasmine Award by the Fragrance Foundation. It was for a comedy piece I'd written about perfumes from the pound shop for Basenotes.  I didn't win - there was no way a funny vignette about perfumes no one in their right mind would have wanted to buy could have won, to be honest - but it was a huge honour to have been selected in the first place. It remains one of the high points of my blogging career!

A couple of months after being nominated, however, I caught a cold, and lost my sense of smell completely.  As my anosmia progressed, and particularly after it turned into parosmia (after around six months), which made absolutely everything in my life both smell and taste like sewage, I thought my life as a fledgling perfume-writer was over.  And, for a while, it was. But, for those of you who have been reading Get Lippie over the long term, you'll have noticed a few perfume reviews pop up every now and again, and particularly if you've been following my instagram, you'll have (hopefully) noticed my quest to wear my entire fragrance wardrobe one by one, documenting the process via my #LipsNspritz project.  

Parosmia is still very much a part of my life (bacon, coffee and chocolate have been the worst casualties, there are others, but those are still the worst parosmia offenders), but I'm happier than I could ever describe that perfume is now back as a part of my life too.  I currently only smell about half as well as I used to - my right nostril still doesn't register smells at all, nearly some two years on -  and it'll probably never get back to where it was back in the days before I damaged my olfactory nerve, but things are better.  Much better. 

So much better in fact that I've just been shortlisted by the Fragrance Foundation for TWO Jasmine Awards!  Three pieces that I wrote last year, two of which have parosmia as a central theme, have been nominated in two separate categories, and I couldn't be a happier blogger if I'd even tried.  To be nominated for a Jasmine Award (sometimes referred to as the "Oscars of the beauty world") is huge honour in itself, but for a perfume writer with a smell-disability - I believe I'm the first anosmic perfume-writer ever to be shortlisted - it is, quite frankly, a bloody miracle. During my darkest days of recovery (and things did get really very dark indeed) I never thought this could happen. But best of all, many of the friends I've made through perfume blogging have been shortlisted alongside me too, so win or lose on March 16th - when the winners are announced - it'll be a fun and happy occasion.  I can't wait! 

The pieces that have been nominated are:

Jasmine Independent Voice Soundbite Award:
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Satin Mood - aka the one where I change my mind about the Oud fad (a bit).

Jasmine Independent Voice Literary Award:
A Parosmic At The (An)Osmotheque - a piece written about a trip to the perfume museum in Versailles, where a tiny purple light began to glow in the parosmic darkness;
and its companion piece:
Paradox by 4160 Tuesdays and Get Lippie - which is the tale of how myself and Sarah McCartney created a perfume that a parosmic perfume writer could not only smell, but love.

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